Tag Archive | "Andy Pettitte"

He Without Sin…Should not Represent Roger Clemens – Rusty Hardin on A-Rod

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He Without Sin…Should not Represent Roger Clemens – Rusty Hardin on A-Rod

Posted on 31 January 2013 by Trish Vignola

“The sports world has turned the assumption of innocence on its head,” Rusty Hardin (Roger Clemens’ attorney) said Thursday in a telephone interview with USA TODAY Sports. “I am thoroughly convinced there is no way an innocent ballplayer can get out in front of these allegations.


“I truly know nothing about Alex Rodriguez, but do you think anybody is going to believe Alex Rodriguez now? Nobody is going to listen to him or any of these guys accused.”

“The presumption is so strong that they did it, and they’re lying. The only way Alex Rodriguez is going to get a fair shake is by going to court and proving it.”

“Who the hell wants to wish that on anyone? Even if acquitted, the majority of the sports world still is going to assume he did it.”

Roger Clemens vehemently denied Senator George Mitchell’s 2007 report that he used performance-enhancing drugs. He filed a defamation lawsuit against his former trainer, Brian McNamee. He swore under oath that he never took steroids, and after being indicted by a grand jury on charges of making false statements to Congress, he was still found not guilty on all counts of lying to Congress.

“That was the only way Roger could get a fair hearing,” Hardin said, “but like Roger told Congress, ‘He still lost his innocence.’ People still don’t believe him.”

Has he given us a reason to believe him though?

“The problem now is that so many players deny it, and later on admit it, so the accusation carries additional weight,” Harden continued.
If the Miami New Times report is accurate and Rodriguez did indeed purchased performance-enhancing drugs in 2009 and 2012 from Biogenesis, a clinic in Coral Gables, Florida, Harden says that Rodriguez should follow the lead of Yankees starter Andy Pettitte. He publicly admit his transgressions.

“If you did it,” Hardin says, “the way Andy Pettitte went about it is exactly the way to go. You admit it, accept responsibility, and move on.”

“If you didn’t do it, then you’ve got follow your conscience and recognize it’s not going to work. People are too cynical to believe you.”

“What we did with Roger didn’t work. He denied it from every rooftop he could. What we discovered with Roger was that his denial just brought more scorn. After awhile, we just shut up. There was nothing more we could offer from the dialogue.”

“But I will say that if a person didn’t do it, they shouldn’t cave in and say they did it, just to make it go away.”

Hardin realized that even after being victorious in trial, the public perception of Clemens wouldn’t be dramatically altered. That was confirmed this year when the seven-time Cy Young award winner received only 37.6% of the vote in the Hall of Fame ballot.

“I don’t think nobody will ever look at the evidence before they cast their next vote,” Hardin says. “The trouble is that Roger was lumped together with (Barry) Bonds and (Sammy) Sosa. The other two guys, everybody knows they did it.”

Do they? They’ve denied it as much as Clemens.

“There’s no question that Bonds did it.”

Which is interesting because many people can say that about Hardin’s client.

“Everybody knows that. And Sosa proved positive. And since Roger was accused, he was thrown in the same group,” Hardin continued.

Bonds testified that he never knowingly used steroids. Sosa tested positive in an anonymous 2003 test, according to the New York Times, but has denied that he ever used steroids.

“I don’t think anything is ever going to change,” Hardin says, “no matter what Roger says.”

“You never get your reputation back.”

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Dear Yankees … So What Happens Now?

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Dear Yankees … So What Happens Now?

Posted on 21 October 2012 by Trish Vignola

The Yankees flameout witnessed yesterday was a long time coming. Alex Rodriguez is 37 years old. He cannot hit righties. Now that I think about it, he can’t hit lefties either.

The Yankees, just three short postseasons ago, reaped a championship with their obscene investment. It was a championship in which A-Rod was viable. He contributed. Now, we have to ask. Has Alex Rodriguez’s performance-enhanced past caught up with him?

Epic slumps are not unprecedented. Gil Hodges of the Brooklyn Dodgers went 0 for 21 in the 1952 postseason. However, Hodges was 28. Rodriguez is not. Manager Chuck Dressen still started him in all seven games. Rodriguez was not.

That was obviously a different age. Hodges was a Brooklyn icon. Again, A-Rod is not. Fans sent religious objects to him. A-Rod gets phone numbers. Hodges also did not have a huge salary across his shoulders. A-Rod? Well, you get the point.

Besides, there was no wildcard, division or championship rounds in those days. There was hardly time for a pattern to develop. Good pitching and solid role players came to the forefront in the postseason. With all due respect, Joe Girardi’s mass benching of key players would have looked like sheer panic in those days.

Maybe, all dynasties fade. Players do fall apart. Derek Jeter’s ankle snapped making a play he has made time after time. Mariano Rivera fell apart jogging for a fly before a game.

This A-Rod inevitability has been a long time coming. However, he has a contract for five more years. He is owed $114 million. The Yankees ignored the warning signs.

It could be argued that the golden age of the entire Yankees franchise was from 1995 through 2000. They won four World Series and just missed twice. The New York Yankees were home-built and fundamentally as sound as this organization has ever been.

Hard to imagine, I know.

The five cornerstones were Rivera, Jeter, Bernie Williams, Jorge Posada and Andy Pettitte. They were homegrown. The only reason they stayed together was because George Steinbrenner was suspended. It allowed Gene Michael to hold on to the prizes the organization had wisely cultivated.

Once the Yankees pursued A-Rod for the 2004 season, they became the flawed suitor in some old nursery tale. The Yankees have won exactly one World Series in nine seasons with A-Rod. They are not a dynasty anymore.

Can dynasties even exist anymore? Since Luis Sojo dribbled a hit up the middle in the fifth and final game of the 2000, there have been nine different champions in the past 11 Series. Don’t get me wrong. Democracy is good for baseball. It also seems to be a trend.

As Tyler Kepner of the New York Times pointed out recently, sound management counts. He particularly points out the “know-thyself” regime of the DeWitt family and the smart folks hired to run the Cardinals.

The Yankees in all truthfulness were disgraceful this postseason. With their payroll of $197 million, they flopped around like 42-year-old Willie Mays in the 1973 World Series. Nonetheless, the Yankees made their deal with the Fates. They sold their soul and now they’ll have to pay $114 million to get it back. If they don’t, postseasons like this will become far more common.

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Andy Pettitte Doesn’t Disappoint In His Return

Posted on 20 September 2012 by Trish Vignola

Yankees manager Joe Girardi was hopping for five innings and 70 pitches from the return of Andy Pettitte.

Boy, did he get more.

After a three-month stint on the disabled list, the veteran left-hander looked like he hadn’t missed a beat. In the first leg of a day-night doubleheader against the Blue Jays on Wednesday, Pettitte gave Girardi five scoreless frames, 75 pitches and a 4-2 win. Pettitte helped to snap the Yankees’ tie atop the American League East with the Orioles, which has become progressively harder as the season has gone on.

“That doesn’t mean [Pettitte] didn’t lobby to go back out there,” Girardi said of Pettitte’s pitch limit. “He said, ‘I’m fine, I’m fine.’ But I told him, ‘We’re not going to hurt you in the first start; that would be silly.’”

That would be Johan Santana.

Girardi continued, “He gave us everything that we asked for — probably a few more pitches than we wanted him to throw. Let’s leave it at that.”

Making his first appearance since a comebacker fractured his left fibula on June 27, Pettitte appeared to be finished after four innings. The 40-year-old was at 68 pitches and Derek Lowe was warming in the Yankees’ bullpen. Pettitte returned though for one more frame. Pulling out all the stops, he retired the side in order (for the first time all day), needing only seven pitches to do so. He left to applause from the sparse crowd a day after inclement weather forced the postponement of the lefty’s anticipated return.

“I think that extra layoff I had actually probably hurt me, as far as how my body felt [and] my legs and stamina,” Pettitte said. “But all in all, it was good. I was able to get through it and make pitches when I had to get out of some innings.”

Girardi had to rely heavy on his bullpen during the matinée, but that had nothing to do with Pettitte. Pettitte’s pitch count was New York’s worst kept secret. He only allowed four hits and walked two batters. This was while facing competition for the first time since his injury.

The lefty rehabbed with simulated games since the Minor League seasons ended before he was ready to take a mound. Pettitte said that while there were no nerves in his return, he struggled with whether the Blue Jays would plan to take more pitches than usual simply to elevate his pitch count. Pettitte’s doubts proved unfounded. He improved to 4-3 and lowered his ERA to 2.97 in his 10th start since coming out of retirement.

With a tiring bullpen, the Yankees need reliable starting pitching to take them into October. Pettitte struck out the first batter he faced, Rajai Davis, on four pitches. He was locating his fastball, slider and cutter, though he felt he had better command in bullpen sessions and simulated games. He finished with three strikeouts, throwing 46 strikes and stranding five runners on base. Pettitte escaped a jam with runners on the corners in the second inning and induced a key double-play grounder to end the third.

“You have confidence in Andy because he knows how to get that double-play ball or the strikeout and make the big pitch,” Girardi said. “You know he’s not going to be overwhelmed by the situation. I was probably more nervous when I saw him running around a little bit than when he was on the mound.”

Pettitte reported no negative effects on his left ankle, saying that he was 100 percent healthy. He needed only to rebuild his leg strength and stamina with more running. Girardi estimated Pettitte would throw 85-90 pitches in his next start, scheduled for next week at Minnesota. If Pettitte can go deeper in the game, his coming off the disabled list could be the best pick-up the Yankees made this season.

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Roger Clemens…Where do we go from here?

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Roger Clemens…Where do we go from here?

Posted on 26 June 2012 by Trish Vignola

So, Roger Clemens was cleared of all charges…again. What happens now? Well, he should never make it to Cooperstown. That is according to Hall of Famer, and fellow Yankee icon, Rich “Goose” Gossage. On Thursday, during a radio interview with ESPN New York 98.7, Gossage claims that he believes Clemens lied about his steroid use. He came right out and labeled the seven-time Cy Young Award winner as a cheater unworthy of the Hall of Fame.

“Are we going to reward these guys for cheating?” Gossage asked hosts Michael Kay and Don La Greca. “Even though he was found innocent, it was because of the bad testimony. No one believed (Brian) McNamee and (Andy) Pettitte kind of changed his thing, ‘Did I really hear what he told me.’ ” At this point, Clemens has yet to respond to Gossage’s comments.

I, like Gossage, am not convinced of Clemens’ innocence. Gossage though compared the trial’s outcome to the controversial 1995 verdict in the O.J. Simpson murder trial. “O.J. Simpson, did you believe he didn’t kill those two people?” Gossage said Thursday. As much as I understand Gossage’s sentiment, that statement was a bit of a jump, admittedly.

Gossage went on to address icons of the era like Barry Bonds and Mark McGwire. “Mark was a great teammate. I couldn’t have asked for a better teammate when I played out in Oakland.” This made me start to think about the anonymous 2003 player survey. Gossage wants Congress to release the list of 104 names from the anonymous survey. I agree. Although it would break civil liberty rights, I think it’s time to find out who used steroids and who didn’t during the anonymous testing period.

As much as I love to use Alex Rodriguez as a whipping boy for all that is wrong in baseball, why should he be the only one taking the fall?

Gossage goes on to discuss Jose Canseco, who he shared an adjacent locker with while in Oakland. “Like him or not, he is telling the truth. These guys lie, lie, lie and lie. Roger, I think, is in the same boat. I think there is validity to him using.”

Gossage remembers sitting around the bullpen with fellow Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley as they watched McGwire and Canseco take batting practice in 1993. “We used to look at each other and say, ‘what the (heck) is going on here?’” For Gossage “There is no place for (cheaters) in the Hall of Fame.”

With all this said, Gossage admitted that he might have crumbled under the pressure to use performance-enhancing drugs if he pitched an era later than he did. “The peer pressure is what is so dangerous about steroids. It is affecting our kids in high school and into college.”

Ultimately though, I share Gossage’s opinion on PED’s. “These things are bad for you and they have got to get rid of them. If you are lying, shame on you.”

Clemens was acquitted Monday on all charges that he obstructed and lied to Congress in denying he used performance-enhancing drugs. The verdict however has not settled the matter as to whether Clemens cheated in the latter stages of his career. The proof will be in the pudding this fall. That is when Clemens’ name will appear on the Hall of Fame ballot for the first time.

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3 Up 3 Down – June 7

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3 Up 3 Down – June 7

Posted on 07 June 2012 by Gary Marchese

3 Up and 3 Down

It is that time once again, my weekly three up and three down column.  I take a look weekly at players and teams who are up and then those who are down in my book.  If you have any questions please feel free to reach out at me.  I can be followed on twitter @gmarchesej, facebook and email at gmarchesej@aol.com.  You can also comment under the article on this site, thanks for your support now and in the future.

Use the buttons below to scroll through this week’s three up and three down.

Up - A.J. Pierzynski

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A.J. Pierzynski is leading a surprising first place Chicago White Sox squad.  He is batting 303 with ten homeruns and 37 RBI.  He has an on base percentage of 352.  He is a career 285 hitter.

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